You won’t understand why, you’ll think I was selfish. You’ll say I had so much to live for. You’ll say you never knew but the signs were there. I didn’t become withdrawn because I was mad at you, I didn’t start covering myself because I was cold. I didn’t stop eating because I was on a diet, I didn’t stop talking because I had nothing to say. I just got tired of not being heard, I got tired of screaming but feeling as though I was simultaneously put on mute. I got tired hurting, I got tired of crying myself to sleep every night. I got tired of pretending I was coping. I got tired of trying and that I did, I tried, I really did but I’m sorry I failed. You won’t know how to mourn me because you’re hurting and you’re angry but you’re also confused. It was never my intentions to cause you any hurt and I’m sorry that my liberation has become the source of your pain. Maybe now you’ll understand why I hugged you longer and tighter than usual the last time I saw you, maybe now you’ll understand why I felt the need to keep telling you that “I loved you” over the last few days. Maybe now you’ll understand.
My name is Yannick Leyka*, I’m 25 years old and I’ve suffered with depression for as long as I can remember. It was my secret and I guarded it with my life, the very life it has now taken. I guarded it because depression is weak and how dare I as a black man ever portray weakness. It was my secret until it wasn’t, it became too big to keep. I thought that maybe if I spoke about it, it would make a difference but no one understood. So often it was brushed off with comments like “it’s just a phase, you’ll be fine” or “stop mopping around and be a man about it.” You just didn’t understand but I don’t blame you. From the outside looking in, I had no reasons to be sad, to be demotivated or to feel broken or empty. My life showed so much promise and being unhappy always made me feel as though I was being ungrateful. It didn’t help that I just never learnt how to express myself effectively so I shut the world out because words always escaped me, in a similar way to how they’re escaping you right now. It isn’t your fault and I don’t ever want you to think that it was.
I tried, I really did but to feel sadness without cause and to try fill the void to a black hole created a paralyzing frustration. I remember sitting alone in my room staring at the wall for hours on end, wondering what life would be like for you if I was no longer around. I cried everyday because I was in pain. Sleep was my only escape and even that was taken away from me, as I’d lay in bed for hours before eventually dozing off, sometimes dawn would come without me shutting my eyes at all and wondering off to my perfect world; to the world where my pain was null and void, the world where I didn’t have to hide myself, the world where I was free. Maybe if the sleep was permanent, I’d finally know peace, I’d finally know happiness.
Every 1 in 10 persons you meet are suffering from depression, you may have missed it with me, you may have overlooked the signs with me but now I need you to learn to pay attention, it may just be what saves a life.